Netreon addresses low-cost SAN management

By Lisa Coleman

Recently spun off from parent corporation Peerless Systems, Netreon is eyeing the midrange storage area network (SAN) market-a segment it claims has not been serviced by more-established SAN management software vendors.

Competitors in the SAN management software space include BMC, Computer Associates, Compaq, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, InterSAN, McData/SANavigator, Prisa, Veritas, and Vixel. But Netreon claims its Windows-based SANexec Manager software has the price point and customization capability to allow any organization, large or small, to manage a SAN.

Netreon officials hope that by simplifying SAN management with Windows 2000 management, overall SAN costs can be lowered, thereby allowing more companies to adopt SAN technology.

"Early adopters helped the market mature so that now SANs can be affordable both in initial cost and overall management cost by smaller organizations," says Robert Davis, Netreon president and CEO.

Netreon contends that its competitors developed SAN management products that reflected the needs of customers who had either bought the competitors' other management products or their hardware. These early SAN adopters had relatively high requirements for storage and complex established environments, according to Netreon. Therefore, most existing SAN management products are costly and geared toward large enterprise needs.

SANexec Manager uses the Microsoft Management Console to display Visio views of a SAN.
Click here to enlarge image

The list price for SANexec Manager, which is available through resellers, is $9,995 and $35,000 for a 64-port and 256-port SAN, respectively. The software is integrated with Windows technology, including Microsoft Management Console (MMC), Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), Active Directory, Component Objects Model (COM), and Visio.

Users and integrators can use scripting languages such as VisualBasic or JavaScript to create custom applets, and MOM is used for event correlation and notification. Visio 2002 is leveraged within MMC for topology maps. The software also includes SAN firewall security.

An administrator can use the software to discover the current configuration of a SAN, display it in a Visio topology map within MMC, compare it to the intended configuration stored in Active Directory or an XML file, adjust the configuration from within the topology view, set performance thresholds and alerts to be monitored by PerfMon, establish a notification sequence tied into MOM, and prepare status and performance reports from data exported to Excel.

The software leverages the Brocade API version 2.0, but users do not have to invoke Brocade software when using SANexec to perform functions such as zoning, according to Adam Au, Netreon founder. However, for non-Brocade switches, administrators will be sent to that switch vendor's software. In the future, Netreon plans to add direct support for additional devices.

Last year, Netreon demonstrated SANexec software as a directory-based SAN management tool. However, at that time, the software only managed switches-not the entire SAN.

Founded in 1994, Netreon was acquired by Peerless Systems in 1999. In February, Netreon became an independent, privately owned company with new management.

This article was originally published on March 01, 2002